Consumer Retorts: Tanning Salons

Is fake baking really the best way to get vitamin D?

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Consumer Retorts

Tanning Salon Con

Is fake baking really the best way to get your vitamin D?

EXPOSURE TO UV LIGHT can cause skin cancer, but according to the Indoor Tanning Association, it’s also “the only way to help the body manufacture the vitamin D it needs.” This argument for fake baking has caught on in colder climates: Remember Sarah Palin‘s personal tanning bed? Technically, the ITA is correct, says Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Kurt Kennell: Soaking up UV rays is the only way to get your body to convert cholesterol into vitamin D. But popping 30 nanograms of the vitamin in the form of daily supplements also gives you all you need cheaply and with no risk of cancer, says Kennell. But the ITA makes it sound like a chore: “One would have to consume ten glasses of fortified juices or milk every day of the year,” its website states. Asked why the ITA insists that tanning is the only way to make Vitamin D, spokeswoman Sarah Longwell explains, “If you’re a supplement company, you can promote the supplement. But we are the Indoor Tanning Association.”—K.B.

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